Science has been making many new discoveries lately, helping to turn your cyberpunk dystopia from fiction into fact. Let’s see what they’ve been up to recently…
The future is going to be colorful. Very, very colorful. Overlaid on black and white. Because of one (read, five) little experiments.
A new study has shown that consumers may be more likely to buy worthless junk if the ad for it is in color, while black and white causes them to think about the utility of said junk.
A series of multiple sorting tests in which products (particularly images of shoes) were given to participants; some of the images were color, others weren’t. The folks who focused on color were more likely to sort based on features such as patterns, rather than by whether the shoes had heels.
Is this new? Well, it should go without saying that if you see images in color, you’re going to be more likely to focus on the color. But now that it’s a few replication studies away from marketing fact, it’ll be interesting to see what sorts of products get pushed towards us in what ways.
As technology advances and humans successfully beat back their environment, the sounds of the world are going to change. And there’s a good chance that human language will shift to match.
A recent study of several thousand human languages has found a correlation between a language’s tonality, and the climate the language formed in. One proposed reason for this is related to the difficulty of changing tone in an arid environment.
This raises some interesting questions; as we spend less of our time in nature, more time in cities, does our language change to match? Will the uniqueness of many languages diminish as its speakers spend more time at their computers? Is there some lurking variables in this study, particularly diaspora?
The short answer? Changes probably won’t happen anytime soon, if at all. At least not due to climate. But it’s something to consider.
Medical Technology and Neuroprosthetics
Internal prosthetics are a tricky business, with their risk of rejection ever-looming and the constraints on what therapies can be delivered. Neuroprosthetics, even moreso.
Scientists have now developed a flexible implant that mimics the dura mater that naturally covers and protects the brain and spinal cord.
The silicone implant lays across the spinal cord and delivers both chemical and electrical stimulation; movement was restored to paralyzed mice (with the help of training, of course) using this device. To top it off, there was an extremely low risk of rejection because of the dura mater inspired design.
I for one will be eagerly awaiting news on the human trials.
Medical Technology and Neuroprosthetics
Bad news: Prosthetic eyes may not be for everyone who is blind.
It seems like there have been anecdotes for years regarding patient outcomes for prosthetic eyes being mixed, but new research is now finding reasons for that. The brain can adapt to many things, but once it adapts visual cortex to other functions, it’s hard to earn that back.
The theory of neuroplasticity has been a boon for its 15 years of existence; it states that the brain can repair itself through adaptation in the face of adversity. Through rigorous training and new medical technology, the brain could in theory overcome many forms of trauma.
Now with this research, it’s looking like neuroplasticity may be a little too powerful. After decades of visual cortex being used for touch and hearing, those senses seem to get a little ingrained, at least in one Quebec woman.
The upside is that this research is planned to be used to create an imaging test to predict patient outcomes for prosthetic eyes.
Doc Forre is not a real doctor, nor even a fake one – he just plays one in Shadowrun. His interests are sciences with unnecessary neuro- prefixes and how they can be abused in traditional game design. You can get in touch with Doc Forre via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on twitter @DocForre.